Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903)


Lt 147, 1903

Farnsworth, Brother and Sister [E. W.]

“Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

July 14, 1903

Portions of this letter are published in 3SM 409. +Note

Dear brother and sister Farnsworth,—

Although I have not written to you for some time, I think of you often. But I do not always have time to write to you. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 1

I have a great amount of work laid out to do. I think I will tell you something of what it is. Brother Haskell and Brother Butler are anxious for me to republish a little book containing my early experiences in the work. They feel that this book would be a great help to those who have just accepted the truth. I think that what they say is true. I wish to keep the way behind us lighted up. The past is to reflect its light on the present. The hearts of many are settling down into a fatal disregard for the light God has given us to shine upon the past and present and into the future. Those who have not humbled themselves to accept the light and walk in the light will become traitors to their holy trust. Privileges abused, grace despised, warnings rejected, convictions smothered, will witness against them. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 2

Impenitence has taken hold upon some who once acted a prominent part in the work of God. There is on their part a settling down to a fatal hardness of heart, a confirmed resistance of the Spirit’s pleading. Should death overtake them as they are now, the dreadful words would be spoken, “Weighed in the balances and found wanting.” [Daniel 5:27.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 3

It is possible for men to offer the Saviour outward homage, to be Christians in profession, to have a form of godliness, while the heart, whose loyalty He prizes above <everything> else, is estranged from Him. Such ones have a name to live, but are dead. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 4

I am in great distress and agony as I see how determined some who have been often warned are in their refusal to hear the words of entreaty. They have linked their arms in the arm of Satan, to be led captive by him at his will. I heard the words spoken, So long have they been impregnated with the life and customs of the enemy that they have no desire to break away from his companionship. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 5

Many will come with the chosen to the marriage supper of the Lamb who have not on the wedding garment—the robe prepared for them with the price of His own life’s blood. From lips that never make a mistake come the words, “Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on the wedding garment?” [Matthew 22:12.] Those addressed are speechless. They know that words would be useless. The truth, with its sanctifying power, has not been brought into the soul, and the tongue that once spoke so readily of the truth is now silent. The words are spoken, “Take them out of My presence. They are not worthy to taste of My supper.” 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 6

As they are separated from the loyal ones, Christ looks with deep sorrow upon them. They had occupied high positions of trust in God’s work, but they had not the life insurance policy that would have entitled them to eternal life. From the quivering lips of Christ come the mournful words of regret, “I loved them; I gave My life for them; but they persisted in rejecting My pleadings and continued in sin. O that thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong to thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.” 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 7

Today Christ is looking with sadness upon those whose characters He must at last refuse to acknowledge. Inflated with self-sufficiency, they have had all hope that it would be well with their soul. All at once the mirror of detection reveals to them the evil that their hearts have practiced and at the same time shows them the impossibility of reform. Every effort was made to bring them to repentance. But they stormed out words of defiance and refused to humble their hearts. Now the bitter lamentation is heard, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved.” [See Jeremiah 8:20.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 8

Satan and his angels will appear on this earth as men and will mingle with those of whom God’s Word says, “Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” [1 Timothy 4:1.] The world is full of men and women whom Satan uses as his agencies. Christ has bought them with a price—even with the price of His blood. But they have given themselves unto Satan’s control. They are blind and have forgotten that they were purged from their sins. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 9

In His sermon on the mount, the Son of God mourns over lost souls. Before His eyes pass the millions and millions of souls yet unborn who will multiply their evil works, reject His pleadings, and rob Him of the glory that He would have received, had they allowed Him to impart to them the divine nature. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 10

Christ tells us how in the last great day ministers, elders, evangelists, physicians, teachers will confront Him with their claims. They plead how they have led the singers in their songs of praise, how they have waved the palm branches, how they have spoken of Him before thousands. “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name,” they say, “and in Thy name done many wonderful works of healing?” [Matthew 7:22.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 11

But Christ says, “Then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, ye that work iniquity. O that you had known, even in your day of visitation, when like sweetest music, mercy’s voice fell upon your ears! But you were not ready. If you had been faithful to the warnings of the Word; if you had dismissed Satan, instead of linking your arm in his; if you had preserved untarnished the principles of right; if you had obeyed My commandments, broken with ungodly advisers, scorned their impious bribes, which tempted them to worldly honor; if you had lifted the cross and followed [Me] in self-denial, I could have welcomed you into My presence. But you have not cared for My society, and now you have no power to go from the snare. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 12

“I offered you My life insurance policy, but you refused it, and chose the side of the enemy, even as the priests and rulers did. You refused to be touched by My dying agony on the cross of Calvary, and mocked at My humiliation. So will I refuse to acknowledge you. I weep for your future, but you have not cared to weep for yourselves. I was pledged to bear you and care for you, even as a father beareth and loveth his own son that serveth him. But you would not harmonize with Me.” 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 13

The precious invitation was so often given, “Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me, and he shall make peace with Me. But you would none of My counsel. You have despised all My entreaties and scorned My invitations. You have caused many to follow your sinful ways, and now your punishment has come. You will receive as your works have been. You must lose everlasting life. You have chosen your own ways, and with such ways, such sentiments, such characters, you could not enter the gates of the holy city.” 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 14

What a scene is this! I pass over the ground again and again, bowed down in an agony that no tongue can express as I see the end of the many, many who have refused to receive the Saviour. Justice will take the throne, and the arm strong to save will show itself strong to smite and destroy the enemies of the kingdom of God. Christ will lay bare the motives and deeds of every one. Every hidden action will stand out as clearly before the doer as if proclaimed before the universe. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 15


Olivet was a sacred spot to our Lord. It was here that the cup of suffering trembled in His hand. Must He drink it, as if acknowledging Himself a transgressor? Hitherto He had been an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself. As He felt His unity with the Father broken up, He feared that He would be unable to endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness. With the issues of the conflict before Him, His soul was filled with a dread of separation from God. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 16

It was to this time that Jesus had been looking forward when He said, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.” [Luke 12:50.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 17

Behold Christ contemplating the price to be paid for the human soul. In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as if to prevent Himself from being drawn further from God. The chilling dew of night falls upon His prostrate form, but He heeds it not. From His pale lips comes the bitter cry, “Oh My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Yet even now He adds, “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” [Matthew 26:39.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 18

Christ knew that sympathizing hearts were suffering sorely with Him. He knew that He had the support of the angelic host. But He longed for words of consolation from His disciples. Rising with painful effort, He staggered to the place where He had left them. But He “findeth them asleep.” [Verse 40.] Had He found them praying, He would have been relieved. Had they been seeking refuge in God, that satanic agencies might not prevail over them, He would have been comforted by their steadfast faith. But they had not heeded the repeated warning, “Watch and pray.” [Mark 13:33; Matthew 26:38, 41.] At first they had been much troubled to see their Master, usually so calm and dignified, wrestling with a sorrow that was beyond comprehension. They had prayed as they heard the strong cries of the Sufferer. They did not intend to forsake their Lord, but they seemed paralyzed by a stupor which they might have shaken off if they had continued pleading with God. They did not realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to withstand temptation. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 19

Addressing Peter, Jesus said, “Simon, sleepest thou? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [Mark 14:37, 38; Matthew 26:41.] He feared that they would not be able to endure the test that would come upon them in His betrayal and death. He did not reprove them, but said, “Watch ye, and pray lest ye enter into temptation.” Even in His great agony, He was seeking to excuse their weakness. “The spirit truly is ready,” He said, “but the flesh is weak.” 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 20

Again the Son of God was seized with superhuman agony. He knew that He was the Son of God. But a world of loathsome sin seemed about to fall upon Him. Fainting and exhausted, He staggered back to the place of His former struggle. His suffering was even greater than before. As the agony of His soul came upon Him, “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” [Luke 22:44.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 21

Christ was passing through a death struggle. Can it be that He will fail? Will He let sinful human beings fall into the hands of Satan? 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 22

A short time before, Jesus had stood as a mighty cedar, withstanding the storm of opposition that spent its fury upon Him. Now He was like a reed beaten and bent by the angry storm. He had approached the consummation of His work as a conqueror, having at each step gained a victory over the powers of darkness. As one already glorified, He had claimed oneness with God. In unfaltering accents He had poured out His songs of praise. He had spoken to His disciples in words of courage and tenderness. Now had come the hour of the power of darkness. Now He takes the position of a lost soul. Now His voice was heard on the still evening air, not in tones of triumph, but full of human anguish. The wonted calm and quiet seemed broken up, as it was when Jesus stood on the mountain overlooking Jerusalem, and broke forth into an agony of tears. The words of the Saviour were borne to the ears of the drowsy disciples, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” [Matthew 26:42.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 23

Again He felt a longing for companionship and for some words from His disciples that would bring relief and break the spell of darkness that well-nigh overpowered Him. But their eyes were heavy; “neither wist they what to answer Him.” [Mark 14:40.] His presence roused them. They saw His face marked with the bloody sweat of agony, and they were filled with fear. His anguish of body they could not understand. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” [Isaiah 52:14.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 24

Turning away, Jesus sought again His retreat, and fell prostrate, overcome by the horror of a great darkness. The humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed not now for His disciples, that their faith might not fail, but for His own tempted, agonized soul. That awful moment had come—that moment which was to decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance. Satan came to Him with the masterly temptation, Save yourself even now. Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to Him by guilty man. It was not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow and leave man to perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences of the curse of sin to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the pale lips of Jesus, “O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” [Matthew 26:42.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 25

Three times He has uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man and gathers on His divine soul the sinfulness of every man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts the baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity and happiness and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not now turn away from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: “If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it: Thy will be done.” [Verse 42.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 26

In this awful crisis, when everything was at stake, when the mysterious cup trembled in the hand of the sufferer, the heavens opened, a light shone forth amid the stormy darkness of the crisis hour, and the mighty angel in God’s presence, occupying the position from which Satan fell, came to the side of Christ. The angel came not to take the cup from Christ’s hand, but to strengthen Him to drink it, with the assurance of the Father’s love. He came to give power to the divine-human suppliant and to tell Him that His thrice-uttered prayer had been heard. He pointed Him to the open heavens, telling Him of the souls that would be saved as the result of His sufferings. He assured Him that His Father is greater and more powerful than Satan, that sacrifice would result in the utter discomfiture of Satan, and that the kingdom of this world would be given to the saints of the Most High. He told Him that He would see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, for He would see a multitude of the human race saved, eternally saved. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 27

The conflict was over. Satan was defeated. The punishment for sin must be borne, but Christ knew that His Father had suffered with Him, and He was comforted. The message of the angel brought to Christ the calm majesty of triumph. His agony did not cease, but His discouragement and depression left Him. The storm had in no wise abated, but He who was its object was strengthened to meet its fury. He came forth calm and serene. A heavenly peace rested upon His bloodstained face. He had borne that which no human being could ever bear; for He had tasted the sufferings of death for every man. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 28

How few realize the awful power of the temptation with which Christ wrestled in Gethsemane. Here impurity fought with purity, the prince of light with the prince of darkness. 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 29

Christ’s agony was not caused by the contemplation of His death on the cross. It was the thought of being punished as a transgressor of the law of God, knowing as He did His Father’s hatred of sin, that almost overpowered Christ. There was no spot or stain of sin upon Him. He could say to angels and to men, Which of you convinceth Me of sin? No thought or word or deed of His bore taint of evil. His tongue knew no deceit. His heart was never polluted by an unholy thought. Even the evil spirits recognized His sinlessness. “We know Thee who Thou art,” they said, “the Holy One of God.” [Mark 1:24.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 30

Yet upon Him were laid the iniquities of us all. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5, 6.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 31

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel, and Thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Me.” [Isaiah 63:1-3.] 18LtMs, Lt 147, 1903, par. 32